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    Vishaan Chakrabarti - A Country of Cities

    In this year's Robert and Helen Siler Lecture, Chakrabarti spoke on the subject of his forthcoming book, A Country of Cities.

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    Vishaan Chakrabarti - A Country of Cities
    2013 Robert and Helen Siler Lecturer

    In this year's Robert and Helen Siler Lecture, Chakrabarti spoke on the subject of his forthcoming book, A Country of Cities (Metropolis Books, May 2013), in which he argues that dense, well-designed cities are the key to solving America's great national challenges: environmental degradation, unsustainable consumption, economic stagnation, rising public health costs and decreasing social mobility. A County of Cities presents a wealth of compelling information about cities, suburbs and exurbs, looking at how they developed across the 50 states and their roles in enabling prosperity and globalization, sustainability and resilience, and heath and joy. In the book Chakrabarti shows how American cities today are growing faster than their suburban counterparts for the first time since the 1920s, and that strategically increasing the density of our cities—and building the transit systems, schools, parks and other infrastructure to support them—will both improve job opportunities and put environmental sustainability within reach. The book closes with a manifesto rallying us to imagine a new urban America—to build "a country of cities" and turn a nation of highways, houses and hedges one of towers, trains and trees.


    One of America's foremost urbanists, Vishaan Chakrabarti is a planner, architect, real estate developer and educator who—though still in his 40s—has already left an indelible mark on New York City's built environment. Currently Holliday Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE) at Columbia University, Chakrabarti is also a principal of SHoP Architects, whose project portfolio includes the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, The Seaport at Pier 17, and master plans for Governor's Island and the Domino Sugar redevelopment in Williamsburg. He also advises The Related Companies on design and planning operations for the vast Moynihan Station and Hudson Rail Yards projects.


    Chakrabarti was previously Director of the Manhattan Office of the New York City Department of City Planning, where he played a key role in the reconstruction of Lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11, the expansion of Columbia University, the makeover of Lincoln Center, the extension of the #7 subway line to Manhattan's far West Side, and the transformation of the High Line into the city's most innovative new park. Earlier in his career he was director of urban design for the New York office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and a transportation planner with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.



    A licensed architect, Chakrabarti studied engineering and art history at Cornell University, and holds an MCP from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.Arch. from the University of California at Berkeley. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Architectural League of New York, and is a trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission and emeritus board member of Friends of the High Line. He is also a member of the Young Leaders Forum of the National Council on US-China Relations. Metropolis magazine named Chakrabarti one of the top 12 Game Changers for 2012. He is a David Rockefeller Fellow and was a Crain’s "40 under 40" in 2000.

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